An Indian business aiming to harvest seaweed from artificial islands in deep ocean waters has attracted finance from Aqua-Spark, a fund set up to invest in sustainable aquaculture.
The investment from Aqua-Spark is part of a $9m (£6.5m) funding round for Sea6 Energy, which started as a spin-out from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras and is now headquartered in Bangalore. Sea6’s SeaCombine is a fully mechanized cultivation system that can simultaneously harvest and replant seaweed in deep ocean waters, enabling cost competitive production at scale.
The system means less labour is required to harvest and seed seaweed, and it can do this directly on the sea. In addition, the SeaCombine allows farming in deeper and rougher waters than traditional methods would allow.
Sea6 has also developed proprietary processing technologies to convert fresh seaweed into novel products for agriculture, animal health, food ingredients, bioplastics and renewable chemicals.
Aqua-Spark is the first investment fund focused on sustainable aquaculture. It is the lead investor in Sea6’s $9M Series B round, alongside co-investor, Singapore-based Silverstrand Capital. The funds will contribute towards the financing of additional SeaCombine systems to increase supply of seaweed raw material, and expanding Sea6’s processing capacity with additional production facilities to produce Sea6’s agricultural biostimulant products, animal health products as well as a carrageenan plant based on an energy efficient and eco-friendly process.
Shrikumar Suryanarayan, Managing Director and Co-founder of Sea6 energy, said: “We are delighted to be part of the Aqua-Spark portfolio of companies. Aqua-Spark’s vision of sustainability is very well aligned with Sea6’s own vision. At Sea6 Energy, we are focussed on cultivating and processing tropical seaweed species which have the advantage of high growth rates, large scalability and year round availability of biomass. This coupled with the fact that seaweed cultivation is a very sustainable operation makes this biomass a versatile and ideal raw material that can be used for a variety of Industrial purposes to greatly reduce their carbon footprint.”
Mike Velings and Amy Novogratz, co-founders of Aqua-Spark, said: “Sea6’s first-of-its-kind innovation is well-positioned to impact how we farm seaweed and its utilization across industries. It gets us much closer to realizing algae as a commercial scale aqua feed ingredient and as a direct source of protein for all. Their SeaCombine makes sustainably farming the ocean a possibility, while capturing CO2 and transforming it into valuable products.”